Earlier last week, I felt a twinge in my calf muscle. As a runner who’s often injured more than he’s not, I couldn’t afford to spend any time away from my Brooks shoes. I simply don’t have time or the energy to deal with an injury. I know that no one really has time for an injury, but personally, I just wouldn’t be able to handle one at this time.
I’ve been slowly building my mileage – from very little over the winter (coaching sprinters doesn’t allow for much run time) to up to 30 miles per week in May. I mean a real. slow. build up. But even with all of the precautions I took, I’m still susceptible to injuries. And if I didn’t take care of this one – oh boy – it could easily have been a biggie!
Well, instead of sulking and taking time off, here’s what I did to not only avoid taking extended time off, but also to make myself a stronger runner. All of the tips below work for just about every sore muscle/oncoming injury. If you have lingering pain, you should see a doctor or physical therapist before resuming running.
6 Ways to Avoid Time off Because of Injury
Stretch: Use steps, inversion or this funky tool to stretch. Do it often (multiple times an hour while you’re at home watching TV!!!) You don’t have to use anything fancy, just stretch!
Ice: Grab a bag of ice cubes and chuck ’em in a baggie and stick it on your injured area. 20 minutes on, 40 minutes off. All dang night!
Compression Socks: I love compressions and swear by them. They are said to aid in recovery and help with circulation. I have different brands (CEP, adidas, UnderArmor,…) and full sock length as well.
Massage: You can use a foam roller, a massage stick, go to a therapist, or do it yourself. However you can, you should be breaking up the scar tissue or the adhesions that have caused the tender area. Whatever your method, do it for 10-20 minutes at a time and then rest.
Strength Work: Even though my calf was bothering me, it didn’t stop me from doing calf raises. Inward, outward and straight on helps get every part of the calf. I also work on the major muscle groups – hamstrings, quads, and core.
Time Off: I elected to take the next day off and then run as late as possible the following day. This allows me to have more than 24 hours of recovery for my sore muscles. If the pain persists, take more time off or see a specialized doctor who you trust.
There are so many different ways to get over aches and pains…What tips can you provide to avoid injuries?